3 ab latere nostris aperto as a soldier carries his

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3 ab latere nostris aperto: as a soldier carries his shield on the left arm, leaving the sword hand free, this (right) side is called latus apertum .—Compton. 4 manus distinendae causa = for the purpose of diverting ( distinendae , lit. hold off ) the enemy’s force . 6 perterruerunt : this was all the more natural, as the Aeduan contingent was only awaiting the result of the blockade, to openly join the insurgents. 9 excidere = to cut away , hew down , i.e. from within. Gergovia , 4 miles S. of Clermont. This famous stronghold consists of a rectangular plateau nearly a mile in length, and some 1300 feet above the plain through which the Allier flows, and descending steeply on all sides but one to the ground. Caesar’s failure. ‘The fact was that chiefly owing to the nature of the ground and their own ardour, Caesar’s men were not well in hand.’—W. F. B 43 THE GALLIC WAR, 58-50 B.C. (7) Siege of Alesia. The Last Fight of Vercingetorix, 52 B.C. Vercingetorix ex arce Alesiae suos conspicatus ex oppido egreditur: crates, longurios, musculos , fasces, reliquaque quae eruptionis causa paraverat profert. Pugnatur uno tempore omnibus locis atque omnia temptantur; quae minime visa pars firma est huc 5 concurritur. Romanorum manus tantis munitionibus distinetur nec facile pluribus locis occurrit. . . . Labienus, postquam neque aggeres neque fossae vim hostium sustinere poterant, coactis XI cohortibus, quas ex proximis praesidiis deductas fors obtulit, 10 Caesarem per nuntios facit certiorem quid faciendum existimet. Accelerat Caesar ut proelio intersit. Eius adventu ex colore vestitus cognito (quo insigni in proeliis uti consuerat), turmisque equitum et cohortibus visis quas se sequi iusserat, ut de locis 15 superioribus haec declivia et devexa cemebantur, hostes proelium committunt. Utrimque clamore sublato excipit rursus ex vallo atque omnibus munitionibus clamor. Nostri omissis pilis gladiis rem gerunt. Repente post tergum equitatus cernitur: 20 cohortes aliae appropinquant. Hostes terga vertunt; fugientibus equites occurrunt: fit magna caedes: pauci ex tanto numero se incolumes in castra recipiunt. C AESAR , de B. G. vii. 84, 87, 88. Context. After his successful defence of Gergovia, Vercingetorix allowed his judgment to be overruled, and attacked Caesar’s army (now united to the division of Labienus) on the march. Caesar shook off the enemy with the help of his German cavalry, and turned their retreat into a rout. V. then threw himself with all his forces into Alesia. Caesar constructed an inner line of investment and an outer line of defence, and was thus able to wear out the besieged and beat back the relieving host of the Gauls . 1 suos , i.e. the host (some 250,000) of the relieving army of Gauls. 2 musculos (dimin. of mus ) = pent-houses or sheds . 4 omnibus locis , i.e. along the whole length of Caesar’s outer line of defence, where it ran along the slope of Mont Réa , to the N.W. of Alesia. This, as the relieving Gauls were quick to see, was the weakest point of the whole line.
13 ex colore vestitus , i.e. the purple or scarlet paludamentum.

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